MURAKAMI Yoshio[1933-2006]

MURAKAMI Yoshio was born in 1933 in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture. He completed a course of study on the Japanese language in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Iwate University in 1954 and took up a post at Hanamaki City Yumoto Elementary School in that same year (later working at Iwate Municipal Iwate Daiichi Junior High School and Iwate Prefectural Morioka High School). After his work was first accepted for the exhibition of the Nika Association in 1953, he continued to present works there every year until 1961. A work he submitted to the 1955 Nika Exhibition caught the eye of artist OKAMOTO Taro and was displayed in “Room Nine” (nicknamed the “Taro Room”), an avant-garde section within the exhibition. Murakami subsequently became strongly influenced by Okamoto. In 1962, he formed “Group Alpha” with artists such as YOSHINAKA Taizo and BABA Akira and held exhibitions at the Shinjuku Daiichi Gallery in Tokyo. Murakami won third prize at the sixth annual Shell Art Award Exhibition and presented works at the fourteenth annual Yomiuri Indépendant Exhibition (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum). In 1968, he relocated to the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. He spent the 1960s releasing works pasted with countless hypodermic needles or composed of numbers and symbols from measuring instruments, newspapers, and various statistical charts, which met with critical acclaim. In the 1970s, the subjects of his works shifted to symbols on weather charts and freight cars. He moved to Hirosaki City in Aomori Prefecture to take up a post at Hirosaki University in 1982. Hirosaki became the new base for his diverse creative activities, which focused mainly on art production but also included design and writing. His “Nailed” series of old documents folded and pasted into collages and painted with nail-like connected white dots, considered to be his most representative work, corresponds to this period. Murakami’s works are generally characterized by intellectual compositions that bring together modernity and folkloristic emotional aspects, showing the rich relationship between artistic expression and the culture of the Tohoku region. In his own words, “the innermost depths of folklore are fundamentally connected to the forefront of modern art.” The retrospective “Settling in the North: MURAKAMI Yoshio Exhibition” was held in 2005 (Yorozu Tetsugoro Memorial Museum of Art; Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Kawasaki; and others).
Murakami died in 2006 in Morioka. Even after his death, his works have been presented in exhibitions at museums throughout Japan including the Aomori Museum of Art and the Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art.


oil on canvas


《Service for Nails: A》
nails, iron, resin


《Picture of kugiuchi (hitting nails) in Akakurasawa in Tsugaru》
acrylic, japanese paper, ancientdocuments on canvas